Where to Buy Jars for Canning

jars!

One question I get a lot, particularly from beginning canners, is where to buy jars. And it’s true, it can be challenging to find them, particularly during the off-season. If you live in an urban area, it can be even harder. However, I’ve found that finding canning jars is never impossible. Here are some places to look.

Grocery stores

Unfortunately, not all grocery stores carry canning jars and their stock often varies depending on the neighborhood in which the store is located. For instance, there is always a small canning section in the South Philadelphia ShopRite (during the harvest season, they expand their stock), but other locations of the chain don’t always have canning stuff in stock. I’ve been told that this is because that area has a historically high Italian population and thus, a tradition of canning tomato products.

Another local spot (for those of you in the greater Philadelphia region) is Wegmans. Their canning section is always stocked, although its placement in the store can vary depending on the location you’re in. We don’t have any Weis Markets in Philadelphia proper, but they start appearing as soon as you get out of the city. I’ve often found jars (as well as copies of the Ball Blue Book) there.

Out west, I’ve found that WinCo can always be relied on for canning jars, lids and other useful products (in the summer, they put the jars on special and they’re super affordable).

If you can’t find the canning section in your local grocery store, make sure to search out the odd corners, like that seldom-used hardware aisle and at the end of the pet food section (truly, I’ve found jars in both places). The Acme markets around here only stocks jars during the summer months, but they keep them on the baking aisle. It’s also good to look near the plastic wraps and boxes of tin foil. And don’t be afraid to ask grocery store staff where their canning section is. If they say that they don’t have one, suggest that they start carrying canning stuff. Customer demand is a terrific way to increase the availability of canning supplies.

Hardware stores

While canning supplies tend to be a seasonal item for hardware stores, a number of them will stock jars during the height of the canning season. I’ve found that Ace and TrueValue stores can be some of the most reliable jar destinations out of the traditional hardware store genre.

Side note: There used to be a wonderful little independently owned hardware store across the street from my apartment building and they carried jars (I bought some of my very first canning jars from them about six years ago) and so many other useful items (like the tube light bulbs that fit the fixture over my kitchen sink). However, they didn’t survive the slumping economy. Lesson learned: support your local hardware stores.

While in Lancaster County, PA last weekend, I found myself in the most amazing home goods stores I’ve ever encountered (that’s where the picture above was taken). Called Good’s Store, their canning aisle was truly a thing of beauty. They had all sizes of jars (even my beloved half pint, wide-mouth Kerr jars), canning pots, pressure canners, pectin, cookbooks and more. Truly, seeing such preserving abundance in one place was enough to make me a little giddy. If you’re a serious canner within a three-hour drive of one of their locations, I absolutely recommend a pilgrimage.

Used jars

There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying used jars, as long as you give them a good once-over before you plonk your money down. Check the rims for any chips or cracks and make sure that they’re fairly free from major staining and scratching. Haunt your local thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets for good jars. My personal rule is that I don’t spend more than $4-5 a dozen when it comes to used pint jars (I’ll go a bit higher for quarts), because much more than that and they start to get as expensive as a box of new ones (depending on their size).

For more of my tips on buying used jars, check out the post I wrote on the subject last year.

Online

The one problem with buying jars online is that the shipping costs quickly get prohibitive. Glass is heavy and so the shipping can sometimes double your costs. However, for us urban dwellers, it can often be the only way to get your jar fix, particularly if you’re looking for a special size/shape (again, I call out those wide mouth, half-pints I love so much).

On Amazon, I like the seller Brand Variety for jars because their shipping structure is one of the more reasonable I’ve found. For all other canning stuff, I turn to Lehman’s. I love the stainless steel canning funnel they sell.

Craigslist can also be a good place to find used jars, depending on the level of jar competition in your area (I’ve found that it’s a heck of a lot harder to get used jars off CL in Oregon than it is here in Philly. The canning revival got there first, I guess).

Now, to make this post even more useful, please share where you find jars! Let’s here from the other regions of the country, which grocery and hardware stores are most reliable in your area?

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78 Responses to Where to Buy Jars for Canning

  1. 51
    Chickybeth says:

    I’m in Michigan and local Busch’s stores carry jars all year round. The Meijer near me is hit or miss.

  2. 52
    margo says:

    fascinating post! I don’t have any tips to add, except to say that I adore poking around in housewares sections of any store. I always find something my kitchen needs.

  3. 53
    Amelia says:

    Here’s my question: where’s the best place to buy sugar? I’m on my third 10 lbs bag for the year. It’s expensive!

    Emily,
    Sams is a wonderful place to get sugar. I get a 25 pounds of sugar for 12.00. It is a fine grain too, so it seems to work out better. Good Luck!

  4. 54
    Rachel says:

    Just wanted to say that the Hunt Valley Wegmans (for those of us in the Baltimore area) has a huge canning display with several different kits, pots and lots of tongs, jar lifters etc. I am finally going to take the canning plunge this year!

  5. 55
    Maggie says:

    I too love the wide-mouth half-pints, and was thrilled to find them recently at my local Target store in Florence, South Carolina. They weren’t exactly cheap in sets of 4, and I don’t see them on their website, but they did have these other half-pints (if link doesn’t work, just put ‘canning jars’ in their search box:

    http://www.target.com/s/179-4414296-5179632?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=tgt-index&keywords=canning%20jars&ref=sr_bx_1_1&searchNodeID=1038576|1287991011&searchPage=1

  6. 56

    In Southern California, I found a wonderful canning section at True Value Hardware….and the woman that worked there said they carried them year round. They even carry the plastic lids which are so useful for making salad dressings and storing things in my jars.

  7. 57
    Era says:

    In West Philly I can order them easily through the independently-owned Monarch Hardware.

  8. 58
    Pete says:

    Many stores will let you order on line and ship to the local store, if that chain stocks an item ever. Problem with doing that is that you don’t usually get a sale kind of price. But, it is a dependable source for harder to find items like 1/2 gal jars.

    The best price I’ve found for narrow mouthed jars is Big Lots. Around here you have to get them quick, so find out when delivery day is. Other stores, like Target and WalMart, carry a better selection in season only (as THEY define it, of course!), but when WalMart puts their stuff on clearance you cannot beat the price on everything canning that they have left in stock.

  9. 59
    Tara says:

    Have you seen this yet? http://www.freshpreservingstore.com/detail/TCL+1440010790 I saw it at my local Wal-Mart and I was very intrigued. The rack with the lifter looks very cool and the price is resonable. I had been using round cake cooling racks, but they both rusted out last year. I think this might be a good option.

    I usually buy my jars from Wal-mart or the local grocery store. I haven’t found a place to order Weck jars, other than on-line, though. :(

  10. 60
    Nette says:

    I have found a few good places in Queens. One has been mentioned- ordering jars through Ace Hardware online- free shipping if you pick up at the store. The Ace in Yorkville has a good selection of canning supplies.

    I have also found jars at odds&ends type stores in New York- the weird discount places that sell random stuff like furniture and cards…they are sort of like the TJ Maxx of weird stuff. Anyway, I have been pretty successful finding jars there, and if you are buying a lot, they are usually open to haggling- if they price them by the jar, so when you buy a flat of 12, they will knock the price per jar down…it can’t hurt to try!

    And if you have a car, there is a wild spot off of the LIE called Homebrew too (14649 Horace Harding Expy, Flushing, NY 11367,(718) 762-8880‎). They have an eccletic mix of canning supplies, home brewing & wine making, organic gardening supplies and hydroponic supplies. It takes me a while to look through everything- very interesting…

  11. 61
    Devon H says:

    Sweet!!!! You were over here in good ol’ Lancaster?! Goods Store is awesome lol. So much…Mennonite-y stuff there :) Did you go to the one in Quarryville? I grew up nearby! I kinda forgot about Goods Store, have to stop down there when I mosey out of the Lancaster (city) to visit the parents :)

    Lancaster has so many good garage sales too – my old boss has been finding me a goldmine worth of all kinds of Mason jars, quart, pint, half pint, and nifty old jelly jars like CRAZY! My long dining room table is literally completely covered, and I have probably 7 or 8 dozen more in boxes stacked on the floor, and I’ve paid about 20 bucks, and that included the vintage canning pot and rack she found for me, and a ton of canning rings.

    You should come back to Lanc and hit up some Saturday garage sales (come up for First Friday downtown some month!), hit the garage sales, and check out any auctions that may be happening. My boss found a whole box of jars for me for ONE DOLLAR at one auction.

  12. 62

    @Era – I was at Monarch (45th and Walnut in Philly) today and they told me they carry them year round.

  13. 63
    Natalie says:

    Fish’s Eddy in NYC has them. Not sure about anywhere else.

  14. 64
    Erin says:

    I live just south of you in Wilmington, DE. My favorite place to buy canning jars is Centerville Bulk in Intercourse, PA. You should make a trip sometime. It’s where the REAL amish folks shop. Love.The.Place. They sell 1/2 gallon jars which are just PERFECT for storing flour, sugar, oatmeal, etc.

    Happy Canning!

  15. 65
    Joanna says:

    for Center City (Philadelphia) shoppers: the South Square Market (22nd and South) has canning supplies including lids

  16. 66
    Heather says:

    Several things:

    If you haven’t already, check out http://www.reusablecanninglids.com I haven’t ordered from them, yet, but I will be!

    Wal-Mart always has a good selection of canning stuff.

    Ace Hardware and True Value Hardware are usually the go-to places for such things as pressure canner gaskets. Ace has a good site-to-store online setup, which even includes pickling crocks!

    If you are eve in Ogden, UT (not far north of Salt Lake City), there is a place called Smith & Edwards, that has a selection of canning and preserving goodies that may even eclipse Lehman’s! It’s right next to the freeway & you won’ miss it, It’s also a sporting goods store, an Ace Hardware, and has about 5 acres of Army surplus!!

  17. 67

    [...] expert Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars has some tips about where to find jars in mostly East Coast supermarkets, but even she admits that you’ll [...]

  18. 68
    Johanna says:

    I just found 500ml Parfait jars (hinged lid with orange seal) at local dollar store for 1.25 each. I am still debating buying them because I like having interchangeable parts, like with my ball collection. I don’t want to have to look for replacement rings… but the jars are OH SO pretty! What I really need is to find one gallon jars for Kombucha and fermenting kraut. I have seed sprouting lids that fit the wide mouth jars, so I use those instead of cheesecloth. Like I said, I need them to be multi-use!

  19. 69
    Pennagirl says:

    If you live near a Fleet Farm Store (Upper Midwest)..they had jars on sale this week 15% off. Pints at 8.99 per case and quarts at 9.99 per case. I think half pints were at 8.99.

  20. 70
    Bekki says:

    I just found your site today. What fun I have been reading and reading. :) I love Goods store! It’s so nice to be near the Amish as they still do so much traditionally and it makes it easy for us to find things. I find many jars at the good will and have left my name at some and they call me when they come in. Some good will’s say thay can’t sell the jars and they take up space on their shelves.

    Here’s a link to my latest canning success, I did corn for the first time. I just didn’t have enough room to freeze 200 ears.

    http://littleredhen4.blogspot.com/2010/08/corn.html

  21. 71

    [...] getting jars from there, but please pipe up in the comments if you have. You should also check out this post from Marissa over at Food in Jars about where to buy jars for canning. It’s not NYC-centric, [...]

  22. 72

    [...] your jam making session you also have to pick up some jars. For beginners Laena advises using the jars with the two part lids because it is obvious when they [...]

  23. 73

    [...] Get your jars ready by sterilizing them – boil them in hot water for 10 minutes. You’ll need 10-15 26 oz Mason jars for this recipe, much larger jars then when you’re making jam since you need space for differently sized cucumber slices. Boil the lids too! Everything must be sterilized. For information about picking out appropriate jars, check out this post from Food In Jars. [...]

  24. 74
    Kelsey says:

    Thanks so much for this article! I searched for hours for wide mouth half pint jars and found nothing without spending a fortune on shipping. True Value has them for cheap, and free shipping to the store!

  25. 75
    Jake says:

    We just got our landscaping done and it includes a lot of space for gardening! I’m excited to get started on canning our fruits and vegetables. Thanks for the advice on where to get them!

  26. 76
    Pracockhill says:

    In Delaware County you can check out Malz Hardware in Sharon Hill Pennsylvania

  27. 77
    Lisa says:

    I’m more than a little late at finding this post and replying.. but, the more ya know. :)

    I recently picked up a large number of various jars for free off of Kijiji. Not all were mason jars – but most were. I think I ended up with around 60 useable jars when all was said and done from that trip – not a bad haul!

    Within said ‘haul’, I came across two odd looking jars – Gem jars! Didn’t think much of em – nor did I notice that they actually require a 78mm lid! – until the next Kijiji bounty I found, a large stash of jars for $3/dozen, which increased my gem jar collection to nearly 40 jars [and gave me about another 80 other assorted jars!].

    Some of these ones had their original glass lid and zinc ring still. The 78mm two piece lids are still available for purchase in Canada, I think I read that they are not available in the USA, if you ever come across some of these jars. The jars aren’t made anymore, but at least the lids still are!

    Also, value village seems to be a good place to find jars – though they are not always priced appropriately for used ones [I've seen 29 cents to $2 for a single 250ml jar!].

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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